Hunger and Thirst | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hunger and Thirst

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Eugene Ionesco's dense, cryptic, stylistically tortured 1964 drama is hardly the play for a novice to cut his teeth on. The final act of three descends into interminable philosophy-soaked incomprehensibility as a neurotic everyman breaks away from his stultifying bourgeois life only to find that freedom is the ultimate spiritual trial. But adventurous actor-turned-director Michael Shannon, assisted by an able cast undaunted by this demanding work, shows no fear in steering Ionesco's three-hour behemoth to its conclusion. Though the ship goes down in the third act, Shannon delivers some expertly paced, resonant work before that, ingeniously orchestrating farce, fantasy, and absurdism. A director worth watching, he needs a better script. Through 6/4: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 6:30 PM, Sun 5/21, 2 PM only, A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, 312-943-8722, $14-$20.

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